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Are Video Games Netflix’s Next Big Play?

Derek Walborn

Amidst the craters left from the bombshell of Discovery’s merger with AT&T and Amazon positioning itself to purchase MGM for around $9 billion, it’s been easy to briefly forget that Netflix is still king among streaming services.

The company has been able to achieve an unprecedented level of customer satisfaction thanks in part to its focus on providing quality original content.

Netflix started it all, and by all measures, they’ve been doing it right.

However, competition has been heating up. Newcomers like Disney+ picking away at the company’s market share, an abysmal first quarter of 2021, and competitors joining forces in tremendous ways mean that evolution is inevitable.

Netflix is eventually going to need more than its reputation and name recognition to maintain its lead among streamers, and it appears as though a foray into video games might be in the company’s future.

A report published by The Information indicates that Netflix is looking for executive leadership to spearhead the expansion, and has approached a number of “veteran game industry executives.”

Rumor has it that Netflix might be taking a cue from Apple Arcade, planning to create a bundle of games available for subscribers.

According to a company statement referencing their previous “Stranger Things” mobile game and “Bandersnatch,” their choose-your-own-story entry into the “Black Mirror” series, Netflix is “excited to do more with interactive entertainment.”

Netflix has already made some headway into the gaming space with some exclusive programming. The platform is home to a series based on “The Witcher,” starring Henry Cavill, and an animated “Castlevania” series. A new “Sonic the Hedgehog” series is also in the works.

Netflix is a Goliath in the industry, but they didn’t get that way by not being savvy. With other streaming services laser-focused on acquiring live sports content to compensate for a lack of original material, Netflix knows that its greatest strength is in the company’s ability to craft compelling narrative content.

Between Netflix working overtime to secure rights to established brands in an effort to compete directly with the likes of Hollywood franchises like “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” and their recent investigations into the gaming realm, it will be interesting to see if Netflix can continue to lead the pack by thinking outside the box or find itself overwhelmed by competitors eager to duplicate their business model.

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